The Moons of Neptune


I bet my body for my body. My sex becomes medical waste.
Somewhere an insurance agent checks the paperwork.
Purple orchids, yellow orchids, gifts.
A machine vacuums blood from the surgical site.
When the chaplain discreetly comes out to me, I confess.
I ask the nurse on the night shift, “Is that the Moon?”

The night before, my mother texted “Sorry, no.”
I blocked her number. I told only one of my blood sisters.
When asked what I wanted for breakfast, I said rice.
I used a spirometer to keep my lungs from collapsing.
I regretted not meditating with the chaplain.
I was told no. I was told no. No one stayed but nurses.
My surgeon loved how the flowers grew.
Summer had passed and I bore a new weight.

Copyright © 2021 by Như Xuân Nguyễn. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on March 1, 2021, by the Academy of American Poets.